Executive Team and Staff
Elissa Faro, PhD
Project Manager II
Elissa is a Project Manager for the Working to Improve Sickle Cell Healthcare (WISCH) and ACTION SCD projects. Prior to working at NICHQ, Elissa taught at Brown University and Dartmouth College. She has extensive project management, research, and fieldwork experience from her work on projects in Armenia, Greece, Italy, Montserrat and Peru. She holds a PhD in Classical Archaeology with an MA in Anthropology from the University of Michigan.
Tricia Finnerty, MS
Associate Director and CYSHCN Operational Lead
Tricia is an Associate Director for the Working to Improve Sickle Cell Healthcare (WISCH) and Improving Hearing Screening and Intervention Systems (IHSIS) projects. She also serves as a Operational Lead for NICHQ's Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSCHN) focus area. Prior to joining NICHQ, Tricia served as a Senior Project Developer for a partnership between the Tourette Syndrome Association and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tricia received a BS in Biology from Boston College and a MS with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health from Harvard School of Public Health.
Elaine Fitzgerald, DrPH, MIA, CLC
Associate Project Director and Perinatal Operational Lead
Elaine is an Associate Project Director who oversees NICHQ's perinatal work. She came to NICHQ with nearly fifteen years of experience in domestic and international healthcare working in operations, program design, grant management, and quality improvement. Elaine was recently awarded her Doctorate in Public Health in Maternal and Child Health from Boston University School of Public Health.
Kristina Grifantini, MS
Kristina focuses on creating, managing, and distributing NICHQ's multimedia marketing and communications products. Prior to NICHQ, she worked at MIT’s Technology Review Magazine where she oversaw web content, wrote articles, produced videos, and enhanced the magazine’s online presence. Kristina earned an MS in Science and Medical Journalism from Boston University and a BA in Premedical Sciences and Neuroscience from Sarah Lawrence College.
Cindy Hutter, MBA
Senior Manager of Communications
Cindy leads NICHQ's project-specific communication strategies to enhance the organization's visibility and reputation. Prior to joining NICHQ, she served in roles including Communications Manager at Cambridge Associates, Employee Communication Editor at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and as a reporter and editor on various publications in Boston, New York and Washington, DC. Cindy received her BA in Journalism and Communication from George Washington University and her MBA from Dowling College.
Meghan Johnson, SM
Senior Project Manager
Meghan is a Senior Project Manager for the Improving Care for Children with Autism and Best Fed Beginnings projects. Prior to joining NICHQ, she served as the Boston Program Director and then the National Program Director for the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship in Boston. Meghan received her MSc in Maternal and Child Health from Harvard University School of Public Health and her BA in Human Development from Boston College Lynch School of Education.
Tamar Kaim, MA
Tamar focuses on the implementation of NICHQ's development strategy and the management of all potential opportunities for new projects. She has a background in development, program development and clinical research in the United States and internationally, with a focus on healthcare and a variety of services for immigrant, refugee and minority populations. Tamar received her MA in Intercultural Conflict Management from Alice Solomon University (Berlin, Germany) and her BA in Psychology and French from Amherst College.
Alana Krafchin, MBA
Director of Operations
Alana is focuses on NICHQ’s Business, Operational and Human Strategies. Alana has a background in Healthcare IT and Start-Up Operations. Alana graduated from Bentley University with a Bachelors Degree in Management, Marketing and International Business. She also holds an MBA in Health Systems Management from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Becca is Project Manager on the Best Fed Beginnings project. Prior to coming to NICHQ, she worked as a Clinical Research Assistant at a local Clinical Research Organization. Becca graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BS in Exercise Science and moved to Boston to pursue a year-long volunteer position with AmeriCorps.
Project Manager and Grants Specialist
Elisa works primarily on the Working to Improve Sickle Cell Healthcare (WISCH) project’s reporting obligations and governance committees. Prior to joining NICHQ, she worked for SafeHouse Center, an organization assisting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. She received her BA from Amherst College and is currently working toward her PhD in philosophy, with a focus on the ethics of reproductive choices.
Marianne McPherson, PhD, MS
Director of Applied Research and Evaluation
Marianne integrates quality improvement science and social science research methodologies—including program evaluation, health services research, and both qualitative and quantitative methods—to understand the implementation and effectiveness of NICHQ’s projects. She holds an MS in public health and a PhD in social policy with content expertise in child and adolescent health.
Shela Merchant, MA
Shela is a Project Manager working on the Autism Learning Collaborative and the Working to Improve Sickle Cell Healthcare (WISCH) projects. Prior to joining NICHQ, Shela worked at Tufts Medical Center as a Study Coordinator focused on developing a pediatric screening tool. She holds a BA in Psychology from Emory University and an MA in Child Development from Tufts University.
Operations Coordinator and Executive Assistant
Tracy is our Operations Coordinator and the Executive Assistant to our CEO, Dr. Charles Homer and to our COO, Rachel Steele. Tracy is also NICHQ's in-house graphic designer. Outside of NICHQ, Tracy manages her own graphic design company (Yellowspot Design) and also volunteers for a number of dog rescue shelters in the Boston area. She studied Business Management and Marketing at Bay State College.